Ice Castles won’t return next winter as Dillon readies to begin Town Park upgrades

Dillon Town Park is pictured Oct. 22. This week, Dillon signed off on a new contract for utilities and earthwork for Phase 1 of the park’s reconstruction.
Photo by Sawyer D’Argonne /

The Dillon Town Council signed off on a contractor to continue work on Town Park improvements this year, a major step forward after the pandemic delayed the project for a year.

Town Council members discussed the effort during a regular work session meeting Tuesday afternoon and later signed off on a near half-million dollar contract with Columbine Hills Construction to perform utilities and earthwork during the first phase of the Town Park reconstruction.

The town began the park revamp in 2019 with drainage work, the relocation of one of the park’s tennis courts, and expanding parking along Buffalo and La Bonte streets. The construction of the park’s new multipurpose field was set to begin in 2020, but the pandemic put a pause on the project. However, the delay might have worked out for the best from a financial perspective.

Town Engineer Dan Burroughs said the project went to bid last year before the pandemic hit, and Columbine Hills’ bid was slightly more expensive than this year despite considerably more work included in this year’s proposal.

“We added back in quite a bit of piping that we eliminated from the previous bid last year, almost 470 feet according to my notes,” Burroughs said. “… We got a great price. Last year, with the less pipe work and everything, Columbine Hills Concrete was about $700 more than this bid. So they really went after this project because they wanted to do it. … Sometimes things just work out well.”

The project involves the removal of the top 6 inches of soil and other material from the field, along with the excavation and removal of the soils below the baseball field. The project will also relocate the existing restroom building via crane to the west end of the site, install a new sanitary sewer main and water service to the new bathroom location and install a new storm sewer system on the south side of the park.

The project is scheduled to take place between May 17 and July 2. The town will pursue a separate contract later this summer to complete the installation of the new sports field, irrigation system, climbing wall and initial landscaping on the project.

Finance Director Carri McDonnell said the project came in over budget but that the town was still in a good financial position to fund it.

“I’ve been working heavily on the budget and where we’re at this year based on revenue changes since it’s not as bad as we thought it would be coming out of COVID,” McDonnell said. “… Right now, we’re looking at probably being over around a combined $300,000 hopefully after this next phase comes in, but we won’t have those numbers until the next bid processes comes through.”

Regardless, the town is excited to finally be moving forward with the improvements.

“I think this investment will be in line with other community investments we’ve seen and really create another gem in terms of community amenities available to residents and guests,” Communications Director Kerstin Anderson said. “… I’m excited to see it utilized to its highest potential.”

The construction means Ice Castles will not be returning to the park this winter, though the town has voiced that negotiations will continue with regard to bringing the attraction back in the future.

“Due to the upcoming construction, it is simply not feasible for them to be located in Town Park without upgrading the site improvements and utilities,” Town Manager Nathan Johnson wrote in an email. “Ice Castles has indicated that they will be working toward different options for operating in the town of Dillon in the near future. Once these options are brought forward, we will work collectively on a partnership that is beneficial for the town.”


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